Fire Tuesday gutted more than 2,000 structures at Sodom and Gomorrah, the fourth such disaster to hit the sprawling slum in the central business district of Accra this year.
Properties running into hundreds of Ghana cedis were destroyed in the process but no casualties were reported because most of the slum dwellers had taken advantage of the apparent halt in the Accra decongesting exercise to engage in various types of trade outside.
The fire, which started at 2:30 p.m., raged on for more than two hours, rapidly sweeping through the wooden structures as personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) could not get access to the place.
The squatters were forced, under the circumstances, to improvise in fighting the fire by breaking down some of the structures and pouring water on the fire.
They had difficulty accessing water to bring the fire under control, because some of the pipelines had been disconnected because they had been illegally connected. Besides, the wind kept changing the direction of the fire until a measure of control was attained around 5:30 p.m.
Most of the squatters were in town ‘when the fire started. When they learnt of the fire, they rushed back to the slum, only to see their structures in ashes. Some of them, especially the women, were seen sobbing.
The few who were in their rooms when the fire started managed to retrieve some of their goods. They were seen carrying their goods away from the direction of the fire, while others gathered by their goods in groups.
Adamu Ibrahim, whose structure was completely destroyed, told the Daily Graphic that he was weighing his scrap metals when he heard of the fire.
“The fire destroyed my television set and all my goods. It also destroyed two rooms belonging to my brother who is in the north now,” he said.
Adam said he would re-erect the structure but indicated that this time around he would use cement blocks to prevent it from getting burnt down in the event of another fire outbreak.
Salifu Inusah said he was in his room watching a film when he heard of the fire. His room was destroyed but he managed to retrieve some of his property.
He said he would put up the structure again, since he did not have any money to rent a room.
The Jamestown District Police Commander, Superintendent J. Oklu Gyamera, told the Daily Graphic that he was informed of the fire around 3 p.m. and he immediately called officers of the GNFS to get to the scene.
He confirmed that there had been no access to the fire by officers of the GNFS.